In this week’s So Many Fairies story “Quincy and the Golden Gourd”, Kalebas, the golden gourd fairy, has been looking for just the right place to plant a magical autumn gourd seed. He waits and waits until he sees a boy named Quincy who appreciates small, unnoticed things.
I think all autumn gourds are a little magical. Not only is there so much scope for imagination in carving the shells, the beautiful golden insides are just begging to be cooked up in interesting ways. While I love pumpkin pie as much as the next person, more often than not I end up roasting autumn gourds into more savory preparations.
One of my favorites is this herb-y squash risotto.
For this preparation, you’re basically treating the squash like mashed potatoes. As such, you can mash them by hand or with a food processor—just do what you normally do with potatoes and you’ll be fine.
If you like a little kick, you can add red pepper flake, but—if you have small ones who haven’t yet discovered the joy of spicy food—you can also add a few dashes of hot sauce to individual portions at the end.
Herb-y Squash Risotto
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup beer (you can sub white wine or whiskey or even vodka, in a pinch)
1 cup Arborio rice
About 2 cups pumpkin sauce (recipe follows)
About 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 Tablespoon butter
About 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper, to taste
Ricotta (for serving)
A sprig a fresh rosemary, diced (for serving)
Sriracha sauce (optional, but pretty good!)
Pour the stock into a pot, and gently warm it on a back burner. If you’ve made the pumpkin sauce ahead of time and it’s cold, pop it into the microwave for a minute or so to warm it, as well.
Meanwhile, in a large sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add the diced onion. Cook the onion gently until it starts to go translucent, anywhere from about 3-5 minutes. Add the Arborio rice, stirring constantly to keep it from burning. Let the rice cook by itself for about a count of 100, then add the beer to do a mini-deglaze of the pan.
Once the beer is starting to absorb, add a ladleful of stock, continuing to stir. When the stock is almost absorbed, add a scoop of the pumpkin sauce. Continue alternating between stock and pumpkin sauce–stirring gently all the while–until the rice is cooked. If you add all the stock and pumpkin, you’ll have an extra pumpkin-y risotto, but feel free to adjust the ratio to your taste.
When the rice is cooked, turn off the heat. Stir in the butter, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Then, put a lid on the pot, and let it sit and meld for about 5 minutes before serving.
When you’re ready to eat, ladle the risotto into bowls. Top with a big dollop of ricotta, a sprinkle of chopped, fresh rosemary, and a few drops of Sriracha, if you’re so inclined.
One small squash (pie pumpkin, hubbard squash, acorn squash, or similar)
2 cloves garlic
About 1/3 cup milk
1 Tablespoon dried sage
1 Tablespoon dried thyme
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
salt and pepper, to taste
Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Cut the squash into sections, then peel it with a vegetable peeler or paring knife. Discard the skin, and cut the flesh into about 1 inch cubes. Scatter the cubes onto a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, stirring once at about 15 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when a fork pierces them easily and they’re starting to get some color.
Let the squash cool just a little, then tumble it into the bowl of a food processor. Start the food processor, and add the garlic. Then drizzle in the milk. Depending on the size of your squash, you may need more or less milk. You’re looking for the consistency of not-too-thick mashed potatoes.
Lastly, add the herbs and salt and pepper. Allow the food processor to run long enough for everything to incorporate well, and you’re all done.
This will keep for a few days in the fridge, and for 3-4 months in the freezer. In addition to risotto, it’s also good mixed in with pasta, or any place else you need a savory pumpkin sauce.
--- If you liked this recipe, here are others you might enjoy:
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred year old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two pre-schoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion--showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun--in her weekly Sparkle Kitchen posts.
When Meryl isn't writing for Sparkle Kitchen, you can find her on her personal blog, My Bit of Earth, where she writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day.